New Book: La ciudad de los balcones

ciudad-quilesLa ciudad de los balcones [The City of Balconies], a new book by architect Edwin R. Quiles was launched last night at the School of Architecture, University of Puerto Rico- Río Piedras. Writer Edgardo Rodríguez Juliá and journalist Armindo Núñez were in charge of the presentation.

The editorial review of this book states that “Ciudad de los balcones exceeds the traditional scholarly books categories as well as the stamps prescribed by the boundaries of fields of knowledge and thought, to pass with ease through the urban San Juan history, calling at major stops, Santurce and most notably, in the most emblematic quarter, Cangrejos Abajo, Villa Palmeras. [. . ] Beautifully written, the text is a reflection on urban informed by knowledge. The experience and eyes of the architect, planner and academic, but articulated by an almost intimate voice, whose approach is revealed from memory, from the streets of the neighborhood children, from the concerns of citizens. Ciudad de los balcones is a book populated with people, details of architecture seen as a living space, a book to read with the five senses.”

Quiles joined forces with seasoned photographer Jochi Melero and graphic artist Consuelo Gotay to produce this 183-page book, which includes over 400 illustrations mapping out the historical and architectural trajectory of Villa Palmeras, “from barrio to city.” The author explains how the unifying theme in the book is the balcony because balconies become a type of border between the home and the street. The author explains, “The balcony was an opening to the world of the city. It was the meeting point between two worlds:  one, protected by the familiarity of objects and people, and the other, the world of the street, insinuating and seductive.  For years, architecture has been studied from the standpoint of great buildings and movements, but behind all of that there was always another architecture of the middle and lower sectors that has not been valued.”

Quiles— professor in the School of Architecture, University of Puerto Rico, and author of other books on architecture and urbanism such as SanJuan tras la fachada [San Juan Behind the Façade]— dedicates his new book to the “architects without degrees” who built the typical, Creole residences of Puerto Rico’s past.

For full article (in Spanish) by Damaris Hernández, see

For purchasing information, see

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